About Dental Implants
What is a Dental Implant? A dental implant is a replacement for the root of a tooth. Dental implants are a safe, medically proven and esthetic alternative to traditional fixed bridgework, removable partial dentures and full dentures. Because dental implants look and feel more like natural teeth, they offer new levels of comfort, security and confidence over traditional treatments.
Dental Implants are substitutes for teeth and they are today's best alternative to your natural teeth. They offer you a permanent or secure solution for replacing one or more teeth. They are made of biocompatible materials, just the same as hip implants or similar orthopedic devices, and function as anchors or support for traditional forms of dentistry, such as crowns, bridges or dentures. Many of our patients will tell you that implants have changed not only their smiles, their overall appearance but also even their lives!
There are numerous other reasons to choose dental implants:
- Esthetically, they support teeth that look like real teeth.
- Functionally, dental implants feel and act like real teeth. With implants, you can eat and chew again without pain or irritation. Foods that were forbidden are now back in the diet.
- Implants eliminate the need for distasteful adhesives. There is no longer a need to use "glue" when your prosthesis is anchored to implants. Implants can actually improve the taste of food. With less plastic covering the roof of your mouth, you can enjoy natural flavors and sensations again.
- Lastly, implants can help maintain your bone structure and support your facial tissues. They can reduce or eliminate bone atrophy, which causes "shrinkage" or facial cosmetic changes.
How does a dental implant work? Dental implants are small "anchors" made
of titanium that are inserted into the jawbone to take the place of the missing tooth root.
After osseointegration (the process of the surrounding bone healing to the dental implant), a
replacement tooth is secured to the top of the implant. This new tooth will function much like your natural tooth.
Why choose dental implants over traditional therapy?
Comfort – Dental implants function very similar to your natural teeth.
Maintain Anatomy – If you have missing teeth, your bone will shrink. Bone loss can make your jaw line recede and change your facial structure. Dental implants help prevent deterioration of the jawbone so your face retains its natural shape and appearance.
Keep your healthy teeth – A better long term alternative to bridgework, dental implants eliminate the need to grind down healthy teeth when replacing one or more adjacent teeth. Your own natural teeth are not compromised.
Security – Securely anchored dental implants do not slip or move. This eliminates some of the key problems of dentures including poor fit, gum irritation and pain from nerve compression. The result is increased comfort and improved stability.
Are dental implants successful? Dental Implants, as we know them today, have been in existence for at least twenty-five years. For the last ten years, however, success rates at many treatment centers are consistently over 95% with proper personal and professional care. Few forms of medical, orthopedic or dental treatment have such high success rates.
What is F.I.C.O.I.: Dr. Walton has been awarded the distinction of Fellowship in the International Congress of Implantologists (ICOI). The ICOI is a worldwide organization of leading dental implantologists. Dr. Walton was awarded the honor of Fellow by demonstrating his advanced knowledge and surgical ability in implant dentistry.
Why Dr. Walton is a member of the ICOI: The International Congress of Oral Implantologists (ICOI) was founded in 1972 by a group of innovative clinicians who believed dental implants were an alternative to removable dentures. Devoted to providing implant education to the entire dental team to better serve its patients, the ICOI is not only the world's largest dental implant organization, but it is also the world's largest provider of continuing dental implant education. They have members in more than 80 countries.
What is the dental implant procedure like?
There are actually two phases to implant dentistry:
Using very accurate surgical techniques, an incision is made in the gum tissues and implants are placed into dimensionally controlled sites (depth and width) in the jawbone. The gum tissues are then closed and the healing phase begins. This may take anywhere from 3-6 months to ensure a strong base.
Creating and fixing the new tooth or teeth to the implant structure constitutes the second and final phase. Implants can replace a single tooth, several teeth or your dentures.
Do Dental Implants hurt? Usually discomfort is not a problem. In fact, many have said that having a tooth removed was more painful! For the placement of dental implant(s), Dr. Walton will use one of many anesthetic regimens so there won't be any discomfort. When you leave the office, you will be given appropriate medications. We urge you to ask other patients how they felt after implant therapy. Dr. Walton is available at anytime to make sure that you are comfortable.
What benefits can I really expect with dental implants? Eat whatever you like! Implants improve your health with the ability to chew a wider variety of foods. Smile with confidence. Discolored or missing teeth ruin your appearance. Implant supported restorations help increase your self-esteem. People will approach you more readily. Express yourself clearly or simply be understood. Implants increase the retention and stability of your teeth. Improve your external facial structure and decrease the likelihood of continued bone loss. Your jaw and teeth will smile together.
Will I be without teeth? You will never be without teeth. Dr. Walton will make sure that in the interim period, you look and feel very natural.
Am I too old? Implant patients can be in their early teens or be mature adults in their seventies and eighties. Good health and adequate bone are the most critical factors in evaluating implant candidates.
Is one dental implant system better than the others? No. There are many FDA approved implant systems available to Dr. Walton.
What will it feel like when it is done? Once the entire procedure is complete and the final restorations placed, they will actually feel or function like your natural teeth!
How do I take care of my dental implants? Normal routine home care and professional cleaning visits are required. It is important to know that every 3-4 months, you will need to have a routine cleaning and re-care treatment and evaluation. An individualized program will be designed for you to optimally care for your new teeth.